Rural women are set to receive increased support from the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA) under a new partnership between the Ministry and Australia's Strongim Bisnis program.

The Australia-Solomon Islands partnership will provide on the ground support for women entrepreneurs and strengthen existing savings clubs across Isabel, Central Province, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Malaita and Western Province.

Solomon Islands research and training consultancy, Dignity Pasifik, has been engaged to implement the training and engagement on behalf of the Ministry. It will use Dignity Pasifik’s Rural Women’s Business Development manual and facilitate the business training in rural communities.

MWYCFA Permanent Secretary, Mr Cedrick Alependava thanked Australia for supporting the Ministry’s plans to extend their support of rural women.

“Working with Strongim Bisnis, we can now implement our policy to strengthen capacity of existing savings clubs and rollout business development services to women in rural areas. It is crucial that we support women in rural areas to be economically empowered and have the capacity to contribute financially to their families,” PS Alependava said.

Australian High Commission Counsellor for Economic Cooperation, Ms Alison Purnell, said Australia recognises the important role women play in Solomon Islands economy.

“Under the Australia-Solomon Islands partnership, we are strong supporters of jobs and providing economic opportunities for all.

“Ultimately this partnership will enable women to not only realise their economic potential but also enables them to do something as life changing as paying for their children’s education - addressing one of the main barriers to economic growth which is access to education.”

Dignity Pasifik founder, Ruth Maetala, said she was happy to be partnering with MWYCFA and Strongim Bisnis to implement the training of trainers and in rural areas.

“This is a unique collaboration between the private and public sectors to support rural women which I am so privileged to be part of.”

Strongim Bisnis works across the cocoa, coconut, tourism, financial services, timber, horticulture and waste management sectors, with a strong focus on creating opportunities for women, youth and people with disability.

Source: Strongim Bisnis